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British Industrial History

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Scaffolding (Great Britain)

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A collection of rulers with named companies; Gre-Solvent Co, James Neilson and Son (1927), Hope's Glass Roofing and Scaffolding (Great Britain)
January 1945.
April 1945.
July 1945.
Jan 1947.
Jan 1947.
1957. SGB.
November 1957. SGB.
June 1958.

of 344-360 South Lambeth Road, SW8. Telephone: Macaulay 4561/6. Telegraphic Address: "Scaffixer, Claproad, London"

1920 The Tubular Scaffolding Co Ltd was incorporated to acquire the plant and material used in the scaffolding business of the Patent Rapid Scaffolding Tie Co Ltd, and to acquire and develop a patent for a coupler to join metal tubes together to form tubular scaffolding.

1922 Public company. The company was floated on the Stock Exchange as Scaffolding (Great Britain) Ltd.

1937 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Principal exhibit the materials originated by this firm for Patent Steel Tubular Scaffolding and similar constructions. Other proprietary materials are: Adjustable Steel Gantry - heavy and light duty, suspended Scaffolding, and General Builders' Plant. (Stand No. B.312).[1]

Widely known as SGB

By 1960 the company was the largest scaffolding company in the United Kingdom and, in addition to supplying the full range of scaffolding requirements, also supplied a large range of building equipment for sale or hire.

1961 Divisions and subsidiary companies cover the following activities: scaffolding, shoring, suspended scaffolding, cradles, shows and exhibitions, temporary structures, shuttering, metal lathing, building equipment for hire and sale, including scaffolding, shuttering, timber plant, mechanical plant, protective clothing, sundry plant. 3,000 employees.[2]

1964 Began to diversify and expand further.

1965 SGB opened an equipment hire shop. SGB also acquired a minority interest in Boulton Scaffolding Ltd, one of SGB's principal suppliers of scaffold fittings and other scaffolding products. Boulton became a wholly-owned subsidiary of SGB

Late 1960s: SGB started a mechanical plant hire business, hiring lorry-mounted hydraulic work platforms and small plant including generators and compressors.

1967 The Hire Shops Ltd and Hire Service Co (London) Ltd subsidiaries had 22 shops between them[3]

1968 Hire Shops Ltd and Hire Service Co (London) Ltd were still not in profit but this was not unexpected for a new way of doing business; the 2 companies had been brought together to trade as Hire Service Shops[4]

1969 Acquired W. C. Youngman Ltd which manufactured, hired and sold ladders, steps, trestles and aluminium alloy access towers, distributed space heaters and manufactured and supplied mobile accommodation. SGB's existing ladder manufacturing activities were transferred to Youngman.

1969 Acquired Peter Cox Ltd, a company which specialized in the restoration of historic buildings and monuments, stone cleaning and damp-proofing

1970 Formal change of name to SGB Group Ltd[5]

1973 As a result of consolidating the organisation of Hire Service Shops Ltd this segment of the business was in profit[6]

1974 Acquired the Hardun Group of companies, manufacturers of timber building systems and temporary and mobile site accommodation, and vendors of an extensive range of small tools, protective clothing and site equipment.

1974 Planning to achieve national coverage of Hire Service Shops Ltd within 5 years[7]

1974 Acquired Contractors' Services Group Ltd, which provided a comprehensive range of plant for hire from depots throughout the United Kingdom; this created a major national plant hire company.

1978 Reorganised plant hire division to form CSG Plant Hire

1978 All SGB's hire shops and related activities were brought together to form HSS Hire Group Ltd.

Subsequently SGB acquired companies specialising in heavy earth-moving equipment and in the supply of mechanical hoists for goods and passengers.

1985 A strategic review led to identification of core businesses:

  • Scaffolding (Great Britain) Ltd: the leading United Kingdom scaffolding and form work supplier;
  • HSS Hire Group Ltd: the market leader in the equipment hire shop business;
  • Youngman Group Ltd: a market leader in the manufacture of ladders and towers and portable accommodation;
  • Peter Cox Ltd: an expanding specialist building maintenance contractor;
  • BEE BV: a major European scaffolding and form work company concentrating on the Dutch and French markets.

Then acquired Stonewest Ltd, a specialist masonry and building restoration company based in Bristol, and Harrison Hire Ltd.

1985 HSS had 100 shops nationwide[8]

1985 BET plc made a take-over bid for the company which was referred to the Competition Commission.

1986 John Mowlem (chaired by Philip Beck) acquired SGB Group (chaired by his brother Clive Beck); SGB was valued at £170M[9]

1987 Mowlem's acquired PB Power Tools (Hire and Sale) which would be linked with HSS Builders Hire Service[10]

1993 After a year of big losses, John Mowlem sold HSS Hire Service Group to Davis Service Group and would use the proceeds to reduce gearing[11]

1994 Mowlems still owned SGB which helped return the group to profit[12]

1997 Mowlems floated SGB which was valued at about £130M[13]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. * 1937 British Industries Fair p411
  2. * 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  3. The Times March 8, 1967
  4. The Times March 6, 1968
  5. The Times February 3, 1970
  6. The Times , February 8, 1973
  7. The Times, February 11, 1974
  8. The Times , July 9, 1985
  9. The Times, April 18, 1986
  10. The Times , July 29, 1987
  11. The Times, April 8, 1993
  12. The Times September 1, 1994
  13. The Times , May 13, 1997
  • Competition Commission report 1986